The great day has arrived: 12 hours to go until the opening ceremony begins! To help you cope with the wait, here’s our roundup of some of the best Olympics coverage – and the highlights of the schedule today.
1) Simon Kuper says the Olympic legacy for London “won’t be economic stimulus, or a mass post-games take-up of synchronised swimming, but something less tangible: a feeling of togetherness, a new London identity”.
2) The opening ceremony is a “peculiar manifestation of geopolitical machismo” writes Matthew Engel, comparing the event’s inevitable rituals to those of the Catholic church. “Thankfully, the doves are now released after the flame is lit, not before, following the incineration of several birds at the 1988 games in Seoul,” he adds.
3) The last time London hosted the Olympics was in 1948 – and they had £760,000 (or about £21m in today’s money) to spend, says James Pickford. That compares with 2012′s £9.3bn budget – and yet somehow the 1948 organisers not only recouped costs but ended up with a £29,000 profit. This FT editorial points out that London is the only city to have hosted the games three times.
4) The rumours swirling around tonight’s ceremony range from the intriguing to the bizarre. To satiate public interest, Locog put out a 30-second clip yesterday featuring NHS nurses and dancers in lycra, reports Vanessa Kortekaas.
4) The games are the product of seven years preparation – and all for 17 days of competition. Will the 20,000-strong media corps make a snap judgement on the basis of tonight’s ceremony? Maybe, says Roger Blitz. But organisers hope the improved weather, landmark venues such as Wimbledon and The Mall, and the resurgence of British enthusiasm will win everyone over in the next few weeks.
5) The Telegraph reports that ticket prices for some events ‘could be cut’ to get spectators into venues; “up to 600,000 tickets are as yet unsold for key events including tonight’s opening ceremony, closing ceremony, beach volleyball, diving and football”.
6) Scientific American magazine looks at whether Oscar Pistorius’s prosthetic legs disqualify him from the Olympics.
7) The Guardian has a nice interactive on the real price of the Olympics and where it’s being spent.